4:33 PM PT (Steve Singiser): Well, this is...exciting. We are over a half hour into the tabulating of the votes, and there haven't actually been any votes counted yet. Both the AP and the South Carolina SoS office are reporting no votes as of yet. What do you call a "ganja break" in coastal South Carolina, anyway?!
4:45 PM PT (Steve Singiser): We have votes! We have votes! Well...kinda. A grand total of about 350 votes have been tallied in the GOP primary in SC-01, and about 250 votes have been counted on the Democratic side. As expected, Elizabeth Colbert Busch is dominating Ben Frasier on the Democratic side (93-7). On the GOP side, Mark Sanford is leading as expected (43 percent). Chip Limehouse runs second (16 percent), with Curtis Bostic the only other Republican in double digits (11 percent). But, to say it is early would be the mother of all understatements.
4:50 PM PT (Steve Singiser): The news is coming so damned slow that I can update: there have been 395 votes cast on the GOP side, and only 248 on the Democratic side. You're welcome.
4:53 PM PT (Steve Singiser): And...with my snark intact...the SoS site has updated to a whopping 1335 votes on the GOP side and 589 votes on the Democratic side. Colbert Busch (and this hardly seems possible) is expanding her lead on the Democratic side to 94-6. Meanwhile, Sanford still leads on the GOP side with 40 percent. Bostic now moves into the #2 slot (16 percent), with Limehouse running third (14 percent). The margin to make the presumptive runoff stands at just 22 votes. For those curious about Teddy Turner: he is running fifth with just 8 percent of the vote.
5:00 PM PT (Steve Singiser): The AP now is reporting entire precincts as having chimed in, so they're now ahead of the SC SoS website. And, if possible, AP might as well go ahead and place the check mark next to Elizabeth Colbert Busch, who still leads 94-6. Meanwhile, it is still Sanford--Bostic--Limehouse, and they remain the only three in double digits. Sanford still seems a step or two behind clearing the runoff threshold, though he is up to 42 percent.
5:04 PM PT (Steve Singiser): From the department of "all politics are local": AP has now moved to 5 percent reporting, and a new face graces the top two on the GOP side: Larry Grooms. One has to believe that the heart of his support has just chimed in, because Grooms zoomed from 8 percent of the vote to 27 percent of the vote. He also managed to knock Sanford down to 37 percent support. Still miles to go, and no real way of knowing if the base support for some of the other contenders (Bostic, Limehouse) are still waiting in the wings. With 95 percent of the vote still waiting to be tallied, one has to assume that such is the case.
5:31 PM PT (Steve Singiser): After waiting a few minutes to get a bit more heft in our vote totals, we are now up to about 20 percent reporting, according to the AP. On the Democratic side, it is Colbert Busch still stretching (!) her edge: she now leads 96-4. On the GOP side, an interesting split. The AP still has Sanford and Grooms pacing the field (38-18), with Bostic close by at 15 percent. But the SoS is counting more GOP votes (over 20,000 votes, in all), and they have Grooms way down the queue. Instead, they have state legislator Andy Patrick in second spot at 14 percent. Stay tuned, as they say.
5:32 PM PT (Steve Singiser): Courtesy of a comment by vicupstate, we have an answer for the Andy Patrick mini-surge: he is the only candidate hailing from Beaufort County. Yup...all politics is local.
5:34 PM PT (Steve Singiser): Boom goes the AP dynamite! Just like that, they bump up to nearly half the vote counted, and they have Colbert Busch cruising, but a genuine three-way tilt for the second GOP runoff spot. Sanford still leads clearly with 35 percent, but Bostic, Patrick, and Grooms are all within a few hundred votes of one another (13-12-11).
6:16 PM PT (Steve Singiser): We have now moved into the homestretch of the SC-01 primaries, with 94 percent of precincts in. AP has...predictably...called the Democratic primary for Elizabeth Colbert Busch (whose lead did hold at 96-4!). Mark Sanford has made one slot in the GOP runoff, with 37 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, it is now clearly down to Curtis Bostic (6715 votes) and Larry Grooms (6442 votes) for the second golden ticket. This one, as it happens, is gonna head to the final precincts.
6:18 PM PT (Steve Singiser): Hahahaha! Check out the opening sentence in Politico's breaking news alert about tonight's outcome: "Disgraced former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has advanced to a runoff..."
6:24 PM PT (Steve Singiser): With the AP only finding 4 out of 318 precincts left uncounted, it looks like Curtis Bostic is going to sneak into that second runoff slot. His lead over Larry Grooms sits at 393 votes. It seems more than a little unlikely that Grooms will make that up in just 4 precincts, unless there are a crapload of uncounted absentees we aren't aware of (which seems unlikely, since the vote count to date is already a tad higher than a lot of the turnout estimates we saw earlier in the week).
6:55 PM PT (Steve Singiser): One of the four remaining precincts has turned in its numbers, and Bostic stretches out his lead to over 400 votes. Absent some seismic shift of the numbers, this thing is done. In a few weeks, it will be Sanford v. Bostic on the GOP side, while Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch awaits, and keeps her powder dry for the general election.
7:04 PM PT (Steve Singiser): This would seem to seal it:
7:16 PM PT (Steve Singiser): And, according to the AP, we know have all precincts reporting. Curtis Bostic did not apparently manage to exceed the minimal margin for avoiding a recount, but as the previous tweet noted, Larry Grooms is not apparently willing to push the issue. The final margin between the two was 493 votes. Mark Sanford paced the field with 37 percent of the votes. Despite Bostic's emphasis on social conservatism and "values", and Sanford's very starcrossed history on values matters, Sanford has to be considered the betting favorite for the GOP nomination. And with over three times as many votes being cast in the GOP primary as in the Democratic primary (and SC-01 being a Romney +18 district), Sanford would also have to be considered the frontrunner for the general election, as well.
And, with that, election night comes to a close. Thanks for reading along, and have a great night!
7:18 PM PT (Steve Singiser): Whoopsie! In the words of good ole Lee Corso, not so fast, my friend!